Clinging to a moment, or to the memory of the sensation of that moment, (active) Addicts grow miserable the further away they are from what they cling to.
In Martin Scorsese's film of Jordan Belfort's memoir, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, the film highlights a particular bro'd up, theatrical aspect of investment culture as a doubling; or rather a doubling back on the culture of Addiction depicted in Belfort's personal life. Addiction is not really a culture, of course. It is a Disease, but in addition to its medical definition, Addiction is also a dis-ease, characterised by totally fucking hating the way normal life and feelings feel. The way the story is told to us is critical; it is in the hindsight of someone realising where the story is, as it's told in Belfort (DiCaprio)'s voiceover narration.
At the time of my viewing of Scorsese's film, i was finishing my read of William Gass' tremendous novel THE TUNNEL (1995.) In Gass' novel, the struggle of finding the story (through an attempted introduction) is narrated to us by a Professor whose life is full of professional failings and unsuccessful marriages.
Instead of reaching to drugs to escape, the narrator here alternates reaching into the bowels of history to poetically escape his present reality with digging up the details of his very personal failures and neuroses. In the middle of the book he begins to really dig; literally digging a tunnel to burrow into the puky grime and ugliness of real life, real love, of family, and of human connections.
His digging overtakes the story of the history more and more in the second half of the book; not unlike the structure of WOWS where in the second half the drugs are progressively more in the foreground of the action.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET illustrates, with the crushing hard on of fantasy-made-real film style, two distinct things: the habit -forming soul killing world of Belfort's investment company culture, and the lifestyle of habit forming and soul killing Addiction it afforded him. Each illustration highlights shared qualities in both the financial culture and the disease of Addiction.
Clinging to what they have is what perpetuates the sickness in lavish lifestyle (in WOWS) and the sickness in pyschology (of the narrator in THE TUNNEL.)
As Jordan clings more to his over the top lifestyle and office style, the mask overtakes the person and Jordan loses more of what he loves (power, freedom, his family, money).
As William Kohler (THE TUNNEL's narrator) clings harder to each of his lovers, he loses more and more ground and more self respect, digging up more details progressively throughout the book. Yet the dig is also a moral act, creating a poetry of crisp details that illuminate the reasons for certain patterns of experiences and emotions.
"I no longer knew how to function without the excitement of the hustle or of getting away with something."
Is this a quote lifted from a 12 step fellowship basic text? A statement from the 'Big Book'? Or was it lifted from the confessional of the architect of a business founded on tacky investment scams?
It fits them all, and it further explains the distended 'lemmons' sequence (a sequence which also hinges on distended time, as it is about the delayed 'kick in' of a methaqualone.
The poetic illustration of the "cerebral palsy face" brings into close focus clear images of the excitement in creating constant problems and emergencies. what is more thriling than trying to drive your Ferrari home without killing yourself or bringing attention to your severely intoxicated condition?
Only the fun of desperately rushing to get home in time to stop your similartly intoxicated drug buddy from using your tapped phone.
How can one cure an illness that fulfills a need? and where will one know when the tunnel is complete when relief only comes from the very act of digging?
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